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Incandescent Lights Out

There are certainly differing opinions about light bulbs these days, for example rarely do we hear someone sitting on the fence about their feelings toward the relatively modern energy efficient compact flourescents (CFL). The energy efficient part is hardly the question… but the qualitative experience of conducting life under the glow of a CFL is widely debated.

Conversely, environment be damned… we all love the warmth and strength (and lack of flickering) of the incandescent bulb. The incandescent bulb has been around in some fashion since the mid 1800′s and patented by Edison in 1879. Aside from the original carbon filament material now being made of tungsten, the light bulb has not changed since days of yore. It’s truly a simple and remarkable little resistance heater used for illumination, and quite an energy hog.

Interestingly, the little energy-hog is finally on the European chopping block. By 2012, Europeans will no longer have the option of purchasing incandescents. On September 1 of 2009, the EU enacted new energy efficient requirements on lamp sales. Immediately they will ban 100 watt conventional bulbs. Other wattage levels will be addressed by the initiative and phased out from now through the end of 2012.

This European ban is actually part of a bigger story. The broader initiative is aimed at reducing the EU’s primary energy use by 20 percent by 2020. As a reference, the bulb ban is predicted to save the equivalent of 11 million European households’ energy use for the same period. It is also expected to reduce up to 15 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

I know many of us Americans really like the light quality that our old-school bulbs offer, I’m right there too. But, lighting technology is finally moving along in a direction where it’s not impossible to have quality light rendering in an energy efficient unit. Keep your eyes peeled for energy efficient options such as incandescent bulbs with halogen technology, or Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology. The CFL’s will continue to get better or die out as a result of something better. In any case… I think the writing is on the wall.

Ps. I have a friend who recently confided in me his latest ‘get rich quick’ scheme which is to buy up huge lots of incandescent bulbs to sell at usury prices in the aftermath of the eventual U.S ban on incandescents. Yes, he’s a good friend and we all keep an eye on him, for his own protection.